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The New Normal

Started: 2009-04-17 21:43:21

Submitted: 2009-04-17 22:05:16

Visibility: World-readable

Every once and a while I look down at Calvin and I'm surprised that he's my son and that I'm a dad. Somehow I expected some sort of "ah-ha" moment when I transitioned from dad-to-be to dad, where suddenly everything clicked into place. Now I expect a gradual transition; like moving or changing a job, I simply go about my life, and when I go weeks or months without considering my state transition I know it slowly becomes the new normal.

It's still bizarre to think that having a baby is likely the only thing I've done so far in my life that will outlive me.

I did have an anti-ah-ha moment the night before I went back to work, when I started considering putting the pieces of my life back together after spending ten days in full-bore dad mode. I discovered that the "dad" role had expanded to fill my entire life, and that when I tried to add the "engineer" and "husband" and "hiker" and "runner" and "web content author" roles back into my life there was simply no room for them. That was the closest to panic I felt after Calvin was born; I had no idea how I was supposed to make the pieces fit. Two weeks later I'm still working on putting my life back together; I had to nudge the "dad" role aside for eight hours to make room for "engineer" (though there is a fair amount of synergy between the "engineer as salary-earner" and "dad as provider" facets), and I'm still trying to figure out how much time I have left for everything else. I expect the real answer is "not much", at least until he grows a bit and stops requiring quite as much hourly care, which I presume will happen at some point. (In the short term, it'd still help if breastfeeding were something other than a complete fiasco.)